CIF-SS FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: SOUTHWEST DIVISION
FOOTHILL (8-2) vs. LAGUNA HILLS (6-3)
Where, when: Tustin High, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: These two teams met in mid-September at Laguna Hills High, with the Century League runner-up shutting out the Sea View League tri-champion, 31-0. Foothill is ranked No. 9 in the county, coming off its best regular season since 2008. All eight Knights victories were by double digits, including seven by at least 24 points. Foothill reached the CIF-SS Southwest semifinals last year. Laguna Hills closed out its regular season with two playoff-like battles against Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills. The Hawks split those games, beating Dana Hills in their league finale to force coin flips that ultimately led to their playoff berth. Laguna Hills exited the playoffs in the first round last year.
NEWPORT HARBOR (6-4) vs. TROY (7-3)
Where, when: Newport Harbor High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: It’s been a season of streaks for Newport Harbor, which started 0-2 and later fell to 2-4 before winning its final four games. The No. 13 Sailors are making their fourth consecutive playoff appearance, but it’s their debut in the Southwest Division playoffs. They’ve been led by tailback Tala Teaupa and sophomore quarterback Cole Norris, who took over in September because of an injury to starter Zach Wade. Those two players led the Sailors to a 6-2 mark. No. 19 Troy threatened to end La Habra’s reign in the Freeway League but ultimately fell two points and one victory short. The Warriors have relied heavily on the legs of running backs Dallas Parent and Nate Fleming to earn their second consecutive playoff berth.